Is "unicycling" a word?

Has anyone else noticed that the spell checker on Microsoft Word marks unicycling as being spelled wrong? It has unicycle and unicyclist, but not unicycling. Upon further investigation, I found that dictionary.com and m-w.com (Merriam Webster) also do not list unicycling as a word. What’s the deal?

Daniel

Spell checkers only contain a list of words. The computer doesn’t know what the words mean. If the word isn’t on the list in the spell checker, the computer alerts you to this. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a word.

Dictionaries are better, but they still only list (and define) a certain number of words. There are all sorts of medical terms and specialist jargon words which you won’t find in a normal dictionary.

But most dictionaries will give definitions for prefixes and suffixes. A prefix is a bit added to the start of a word to change its meaning: ‘pre’, ‘uni’, ‘auto’, ‘un’, dis’ and so on. A suffix is a bit at the end, like ‘ing’ or ‘ation’.

So if you have a reasonable dictionary, and work through it carefully, you can work out words like ‘unicycling’. Otherwise, the dictionary would need to list:
Unicycle
Unicycles
Unicycling
Unicyled
Unicyclist
Unicyclists
…each with a definition.

Multiply this by all the other words where there would be a similar number of options (walk, walks, walking, walked, walker, walkers; run, runs, running, ran, runner, runners) and the dictionary would be very thick indeed!

Not that I’m trying to pick a fight or anything, but all the word on this list ARE on the Microsoft Word spell check list. However, some of the unicycle related words you included are not.

More observations by someone with too much time on their hands,
Daniel

I think the problem is that we use ‘unicycle’ both as a noun and as a verb (mindful of the old saying that any noun can be verbed), whereas most if not all dictionaries recognise it only as a noun.

Klaas Bil

So how do you spell uniing/uni-ing/uni’ing/uning??
:stuck_out_tongue:

You may verb all nouns except verb. ;0)

Concise Oxford Dictionary has unicycle as a noun only.

COD has ‘cycle’ as a noun and as a verb (in the sense of riding a pedal cycle).
(COD, bicycle… cue famous feminist slogan…)

COD has ‘bicycle’ as a verb - to ride a bicycle (noun).

COD has ‘tricycle’ as a verb too.

So COD appears to discriminate against unicycling! I guess this is a negligent omission. (Pprrrrrrrp! Ooops! A negligent emission.:o )

Word

“Unicycling” is a word in my vocabulary

It also marks many other commonly accepted words as being wrong. That is why there is the option to add new words to your custom list. The spell checker is there as a guide to draw your attention to mistakes, not to provide a comprehensive list of all possible words. I looked up Unicycle in Dictionary.com and found it interesting to see the different definitions.

u·ni·cy·cle
n.
A vehicle consisting of a frame mounted over a single wheel and usually propelled by pedals.

I thought this definition is good because it takes into account that Unicycles are usually propelled by pedals and doesn’t exclude the possibility that they can be propelled by wheel walking or gravitational potential such as gliding or coasting. Other sources which I looked at miss out on those possibilities. I looked it up in an old dictionary and it describes Unicycle as “A vehicle with only one wheel, esp. one propelled or driven by pedals and used chiefly by acrobats.” That definition seems to have changed recently as recreational unicyclists probably now outnumber unicycling acrobats.

You don’t.

What I mean is, I don’t think we expect those to be “formally recognized” words like unicycling. Go ahead and use it though. Yes, it’s tough to stick “ing” on “uni.”

I know unicycling exists as a word, because I own it! (the domain name, that is) :slight_smile:

Microsoft Word has something like 20,000 or 50,000 words in its dictionary. The English language contains tons more. They’re just trying to cover the most common ones. We don’t want to be too common, do we?

Try typing “Donner” in Word and spell-checking it. The answer you get is ironic, in that the famous Donner Party, trying to cross what is now the Donner Summit in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (near Lake Tahoe), got stuck for the winter and starved. some members of the group resorted to cannibalism. The “corrected” word you get in Word’s spell checker? Dinner!

I don’t think most of us Americans care too much whether all of our sport’s vernacular is in the dictionary. You English (UK) types may have more of a vested interest in the accuracy of your original-ownership tongue. We are the unicyclists, so it is up to us to determine what words our sport uses, and solidify them through organizations like the IUF. This should lead to adoption by the world’s dictionaries in time.

I remember going to Denmark in 1983, and visiting Jean Ascher. When I asked how to say “unicycle” in Danish he told me there were three possible ways. I asked which one they considered the official one? He didn’t have one. Since Jean was in charge of the Danish Unicycle Union, I suggested to him that it was up to his group to determine the official Danish word for unicycle, if they had an opinion on it. The stickers I got later say “Dansk Uni Cykel Union.”

Tom Miller was fond of the word “unicycler” and used it a lot. This one to me is less formal, but clear enough in its meaning. I hear it used by many others as well. Do people think that one is a word?

Hmm, I prefer unicyclist, unless of course you are refering to something that is more of a unicycle than something else… (ie bigg’er’ or fast’er’)

Unicycling is not a word, it is a passion or religion. It is a state of being. No one can actually hear the word unicycling spoken. It is an auto-aural response to the image of being kissed by angels. Humans cannot pronounce unicycling. They must be connected in some spiritual manner in order to conjure the audio-neural reflex that makes one think that one has “heard” the “word” unicycling.

What a beautiful way to put it Harper!

Re: Is “unicycling” a word?

However they both list “bicycling” as a word. It’s discrimination and ignorance. We need to get the USA and IUF to lobby the dictionary publishers to include “unicycling” in their standard dictionaries. Sounds like a job for Jack Halpern (professional dictionary guru). :slight_smile:

Re: Is “unicycling” a word?

>Tom Miller was fond of the word “unicycler” and used it a lot. This one
>to me is less formal, but clear enough in its meaning. I hear it used by
>many others as well. Do people think that one is a word?
>

My Aol screen name is ExtremeUnicycler because unicyclist wouldn’t fit… no
seriously it is.

Dylan :slight_smile:

Re: Is “unicycling” a word?

“harper” <harper.nhr8c@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
news:harper.nhr8c@timelimit.unicyclist.com
> Unicycling is not a word, it is a passion or religion. It is a state of
> being. No one can actually hear the word unicycling spoken. It is an
> auto-aural response to the image of being kissed by angels. Humans
> cannot pronounce unicycling. They must be connected in some spiritual
> manner in order to conjure the audio-neural reflex that makes one think
> that one has “heard” the “word” unicycling.

Blimey, Greg! Even the Word of God is written entirely in the words of
men.

> “…I noticed time and again that most people, especially Americans I’m
> sad to say, are incapable of rational debate based on facts.” - Arnold
> the Aardvark, on global diplomacy

I am gratified, and recognise the irony of course, but you were not party to
the debates in which I presented facts or questions, and received only the
basest ad hominem responses. Mostly, as I said, from pro-war Americans.

Arnold the Aardvark

Re: Is “unicycling” a word?

> Spell checkers only contain a list of words. The computer doesn’t know
> what the words mean. If the word isn’t on the list in the spell
> checker, the computer alerts you to this. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a
> word.

Not only this, but new words are being coined all the time. Using
‘unicycle’ as a verb may be quite recent. Dictionaries are useful but
incomplete descriptions of usage prior to their most recent update.

I was recently confronted with a verb I hadn’t seen before (‘poddling’),
but immediately divined its meaning from the context and determined
that poddle, poddled and poddles are also acceptable forms. My point:
trust your grey matter more that any spell checker.

As you might guess, I have had arguments with dogmatic Scrabble fans. :wink:

According to the complete, unabridged Oxford English Dictionary (OED) “unicycle” is accepted as a verb. The entry reads:

Unicycle…orig. U.S. … A vehicle or conveyance having only one wheel…
Hence as v. intr., to ride on a unicycle; unicycling vbl. sb.…*

*The elided parts are mostly guides to pronunciation and instances of usage.

The first listed reference to “unicycle” is from 1869 and the first to “unicyclist” from 1881.

As for “unicycler” it’s not listed and personally I find it to have too much of a mechanical and not enough of a human feel to it.

Cheers,
Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Re: sig lines and stati

I was wondering when you would see that, Alan. Sorry, it was a badge that I had to wear and I couldn’t very well pass up the opportunity seeing as it was a gift. I even put a fragment up as my “status” I was so pleased with it.

Re: Is “unicycling” a word?

harper wrote:

> Arnold the Aardvark wrote:
>> *
>> I am gratified, and recognise the irony of course, but you were not
>> party to the debates in which I presented facts or questions, and
>> received only the basest ad hominem responses. Mostly, as I said, from
>> pro-war Americans.
>> *
>
> I was wondering when you would see that, Alan. Sorry, it was a badge
> that I had to wear and I couldn’t very well pass up the opportunity
> seeing as it was a gift. I even put a fragment up as my “status” I was
> so pleased with it.

I did somewhat regret that statement actually - it was an OTT
response. And I certainly don’t mind be reminded of such errors,
even though it was out of context.

Arnold the Aardvark

Democracy comes to Iraq
http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0513-10.htm

Re: Is “unicycling” a word?

harper wrote…
>
>Unicycling is not a word, it is a passion or religion. It is a state of
>being. No one can actually hear the word unicycling spoken. It is an
>auto-aural response to the image of being kissed by angels. Humans
>cannot pronounce unicycling. They must be connected in some spiritual
>manner in order to conjure the audio-neural reflex that makes one think
>that one has “heard” the “word” unicycling.

Wow! This shuold be quited somewhere prominently at unicycling.org.
I think maybe I should drop Judaism as my religion and adopt
“Unicyclism” instead. Rabbi Harper, will you serve as our High Priest!?

>
>–
>harper - incapable of rational debate
>
> -Greg Harper

Stay on top, Jack Halpern
Executive Director for International Development
International Unicycling Federation, Inc.
Website: http://www.kanji.org